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I Trust it will not be deemed presumptuous when I express a hope that this Life will be found the most authentic account of SIR WALTER RALEIGH which has yet been given to the Public. This is said not only with respect, but with gratitude for the labours of my predecessors, Oldys, Birch, Cayley, and latterly Mrs Thomson, whose Appendix of original letters, although undervalued by herself, has assisted me in tracing to its real authors that extraordinary conspiracy against Raleigh, which ultimately brought him to the scaffold.

But whilst I acknowledge these obligations, I must add that in none of these works, so far as I can judge, has full justice been done to Raleigh. The mistakes and aspersions of Hume, and other writers, have been suffered (except by Cayley) to pass unnoticed ; the secret history of his offences, his trial, and condemnation, has been abandoned as obscure and unintelligible; his famous and fatal Guianian voyage has been misunderstood; and the gross charges against his honour and veracity, have neither been sufficiently examined, nor their falsehood exposed. To supply these defects and omissions, to investigate with care, and determine with truth and clearness, the history and character of an extraordinary man, who perhaps more than any other of his

age, combined

profound views with practical knowledge and activity, has been my object in the present work. I have endeavoured also to surround him with groups of his most eminent contemporaries, and, at the same time, to introduce into this biographical picture a füller account than is to be found in our general historians, of those great political events in the reign of Elizabeth, in which he was a principal actor.

In accomplishing this, the reader will perceive by the references in the text, and by the documents in the Appendix, that I have consulted some of Raleigh's manuscripts in the British Museum, and through the permission of Lord Melbourne, which I gratefully acknowledge, have taken various extracts from original letters and journals preserved in His Majesty's State-paper Office. I beg also to notice the courtesy of Mr Lemon and Mr Lechmere, who, although trammelled by strict official rules, showed every disposition to facilitate my researches. For the purposes of history and biography, these stores of original materials cannot perhaps be too highly appreciated, as may be seen by the interesting details which have been derived from this source alone, in the account I have given of the invasion of England by the Spanish Armada. In truth, such materials are the only legitimate bases on which all history must be founded ; and until not only these, but all our national

and muniments, are made accessible to the public, no perfect History of England can be written. May we hope that by the


labours of the New Record Commission, the freedom of consultation and transcription will be at length established, not only in the State-paper Office, but in the other great collections of the kingdom, many of which, as they at present exist, are not so much the repositories as the cemeteries of our national records.


December 15, 1832.

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Birth of Raleigh-Early Education-Sent to Oriel College,
Oxford-Passes over to the War in France-State of that
Kingdom-His Return to England-Goes to the Netherlands
-Serves as a Volunteer under Sir John Norris-His Enthu-
siasm for Navigation-Embarks in the Expedition of his
Brother, Sir Humphrey Gilbert, to America-Its Failure--
Raleigh engages in the War in Ireland-State of that Country
-His eminent Services there-He returns to England-
Court of Queen Elizabeth-Character of Burleigh Of Lei-
cester-Of Sussex-Of Sir Philip Sidney-First Introduction
to the Queen-Dispute with Lord Grey-Increases in Favour
at Court-Sir Humphrey Gilbert's Second Voyage of Dis-
covery-Raleigh's deep Interest in it-Its disastrous Issue
-Raleigh perseveres in his Schemes-He fits out two Ships
-The Voyage-Discovery of the Island Wokokon and Coast
of North Carolina-Return to England-The Queen calls the
Country Virginia-Raleigh knighted-He sends a Fleet to
Virginia under Sir Richard Grenville-Settlement of Virginia
--Difficulties of the infant Colony-Introduction of Tobacco

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